A lobbyist is a person that is supposed to help a Politician to make up his mind, not only help him but pay him. – August 25, 1929  – Will Rogers

ChecksI’m not sure when lobbyists got such a strangle hold on our legislative process but it is clear from this quote that they were in the “buy-off” business even during Will’s day. It is interesting to note that this quote came just two months before the biggest stock market crash in history. That’s the one that started the Great Depression of the 1930s. Wall Street was going crazy with power at that time. They were buying off congressmen for a dime a dozen.
In some ways I feel sorry for all our representatives in congress. I know, I know what you are saying but don’t give me  too hard of a time for this moment of weakness.  Just let me explain.  These guys, and increasingly gals (at least in the Democratic party) control billions of bucks on a daily basis and as a result there are literally thousands at their doors who want their share and for as little work as possible. Here is the lowly congressman with his limited staff who has to deal with all these lobbyists.

There are currently about 12,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC so on average each spends about a half a million bucks a year to get their voice heard. That adds up to about 23 1/2 lobbyists per congressmen. These yahoos get paid big bucks if they can get that special “loop-hole” word added to legislation. It means big money for those they represent.

I will admit that there are some lobbyists who actually provide useful information to the people voting on the various bills. Guys like Jim Wallis at Sojourners who has nothing personal to gain keeps the “least of these” at least slightly on the minds of those writing bills.  I guess if you are part of the military/industrial complex you think those yahoos who advocate bigger and bigger budgets for more and more weapons systems, most of which we don’t need, are your heroes.

I guess it comes down to the fact that you are a hero or a bum depending on what you are championing. 🙂


  1. One of my friend’s son is a lobby for the YoungDemocrats. At the age of early 30’s he just bought his house in Georgetown. The area begins in the mid $650’s and his is a rather large house….Yup, lobbyists make a LOT of money.
    That was one of the pledges I am most upset with Obama about. He promised to get rid of the lobbyists.


  2. Lobbyists have become the most powerful branch of the government (yes, there are now 4). They are out of control. With Congressmen running continuously for re-election nothing is likely to change, particularly in a world where corporations are considered people by our courts.


  3. Thanks Janette and Bob for your comments. Getting rid of lobbyists! That seems like an impossible task. Especially considering the many in congress go there to make the big bucks after they leave. It is all about power and influence.

    The idea of a lobby is not in itself a bad thing. Ideally they serve as information sources on their particular area of expertise. As I mentioned Jim Wallis is a lobbyist promoting the common good and issues related to the poor. In that he does not benefit from his advice he is the good kind. The trouble is that most of them are only trying to get some financial advantage over others and bring in big government contracts. When that line between these two groups exploded I don’t know. But it seems like the for profit guys have been around a long time 🙂


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